“Conversion of Russia” Update:
Russian Nationalists Beat the Drums
Against the Catholic Church
by Christopher A. Ferrara
As the situation of the Catholic Church in Russia begins to resemble more and more a modernized version of Stalinist oppression, the Fatima revisionists dig their heads more deeply than ever into the sands.
Meanwhile, those of us whose heads remain above ground can see the gathering storm. The latest storm cloud comes in the form of the mysterious emergence of organized protests against the Catholic Church in Russia, involving a coalition between the Russian Orthodox and “ex-communists” in the Russian parliament, or Duma.
As reported by AP on April 23, 2002 “Pro-Kremlin lawmakers and nationalist activists joined forces with the Russian Orthodox Church on Tuesday to protest what they see as an encroaching Western expansion led by the United States and the Vatican. Announcing a nationwide day of protest for Sunday, the group said the Roman Catholic Church’s February decision to upgrade its structure in Russia to full-fledged dioceses was part of a series of jabs at Russian statehood.”
According to Gennady Raikov, a deputy in the State Duma, “Now, we are seeing spiritual expansion.” By this he means that the miniscule Catholic presence in Russia threatens to become slightly less miniscule — without forgetting that Archbishop Kondrusiewicz has given repeated assurances that the Catholic Church has no intention of seeking converts in Russia.
“The goal of our protest”, says Raikov, “is to show that the Russian state is able to defend not only its borders, but its spirituality and values.” So, the mere presence of the Catholic Church in Russia is now considered a threat to its “spirituality and values”. What spirituality? What values? The vast majority (some 95%) of those denominated Russian Orthodox never see the inside of a Church, while the average Russian woman continues to have multiple abortions and the favorite Russian pastime is obscene “reality-based TV”.
According to AP, Raikov’s “People’s Party” — another “ex-communist” operation — and the Union of Orthodox Citizens “accused the Catholic Church of attempting to create an insidious ‘fifth column’ in order to destroy Russia from the inside’.” What is this “Union of Orthodox Citizens”? Who created it, and who funds its activities. It’s just a hunch, but perhaps Vladimir (“the practicing Christian”) Putin might know.
Concerning the recent revocation of the entry visa for Bishop Mazur, as well as the visa of Rev. Stefano Caprio, who has parishes in central Russia, AP says that “officials have been silent about the reasons behind the two cases. On Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko said only that there had been ‘serious complaints’ about Mazur’s activities.” Serious complaints? Like what, for instance?
AP further reports that while a small group of Catholics “in the Siberian city of Irkutsk prayed for Mazur’s return, about 350 people demonstrated outside the cathedral against ‘Catholic expansion’.” That no evidence of this “expansion” has been presented does not seem to deter the “demonstrators”.
And by the way, how does one get a crowd of 350 people to protest anything in Siberia? At the same time, reports AP, “a spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church, the Rev. Antony Ilyin, said the church supported Sunday’s protests, which organizers said were planned in more than 20 regions and would include both rallies and prayers.” Could the Kremlin and Vladimir (“the practicing Christian”) be behind these carefully organized protests in 20 different regions? Duh.
Raikov is trying to link non-existent “Catholic expansion” to “Western encroachment” in general: “There has been a whole chain of events, beginning with the fact that, under the anti-terrorism flag, the United States has established bases in Central Asia and now in Georgia.” Does this enmity toward the West remind anyone of the Khrushchev era? The only thing Raikov didn’t do was pound his shoe on the table.
And so it goes in year 18 of the “conversion” of Russia.